UPDATED: Anchorage Daily News falls on hard times, again

The Anchorage Daily News is announcing layoffs yesterday as the biggest story unfolds in its back yard since the Exxon Valdez ran aground 19 years ago. It is the second time this year that Alaska's largest newspaper, which has garnered record website traffic since Sarah Palin joined the McCain ticket, has announced layoffs. Newspaper employees were still waiting word from their bosses which positions would be cut. Here's the memo sent to ADN employees:

To: All Employees

From: Pat Doyle

Subject: Workforce Reductions and Reorganization

Date: September 16, 2008

Today we are announcing plans to reduce our workforce by 13 employees. We also will eliminate another 12 positions that are currently vacant. Between both layoffs and attrition the workforce is being reduced by about 8%.

Reductions will occur in Circulation, Marketing, Retail, Editorial, Business Office, Systems and Maintenance. Although some of these job eliminations will occur through involuntary layoffs, there also will be opportunities for employees in certain areas to voluntarily elect a severance package where reductions are occurring in work groups of two or more employees. If enough employees do not take the voluntary option, then the work groups will be reduced according to least tenure.


Employees affected by this reduction are being notified today and are being provided with information about the severance program. They will be provided with a transition package that includes severance pay and benefits continuation. We also will provide outplacement services.

The necessity of such painful steps is especially disappointing because we believed the cuts made two months ago would be sufficient to see us through the sharp revenue declines that have beset the newspaper industry. Instead, we've seen that more is required to protect the financial health of the company, to ensure the success of our efforts to restructure and adjust to meet new competitive and economic challenges.

As you know, we have all been transitioning to new ways of doing business, and we are accelerating that effort. We are confident in our ability to navigate to a stable and prosperous future as an integrated media company serving as our community's most trusted supplier of news and advertising information.

Severing employment ties with valued friends and colleagues, many of whom have served the company well for many years, is the most difficult adjustment we are called upon to make. We will do everything possible to make their transition as smooth as possible.

Other workforce reductions and changes were also announced today throughout McClatchy. A press release detailing those actions - amounting to about 1,150 jobs, or 10% of the company's workforce - is available at www.mcclatchy.com. Many of these position eliminations are being managed through voluntary separation programs and attrition. Reductions vary by newspaper. The release also addresses other changes in our business model and operations.

We undertake these difficult decisions because they are unavoidable steps on our road to a successful future. Our public service mission remains at the center of everything we do, and we know that the sooner we have made the transition to operating and competing in the new media environment, the sooner we can begin to move forward once again to build and sustain our enterprise.

Our future success is the product of the hard work you all do everyday. We respectfully ask for your continued focus and contribution, even in these difficult circumstances. Thank you for all you do.


Craig Medred

Craig Medred is a former writer for the Anchorage Daily News, Alaska Dispatch and Alaska Dispatch News. He left the ADN in 2015.